Rothamsted comments on today's speech from Environment Secretary Michael Gove who set out the Government’s agenda on the future of the UK’s farming industry.

  • 04
  • JAN
  • 2018

Rothamsted Research welcomes Environment Secretary Michael Gove’s speech today on the future of the UK’s farming industry, “Farming for the Next Generation”.

Comment from Rothamsted Research

Director and Chief Executive, Achim Dobermann:
“It was very positive to hear Mr Gove identify some of the key challenges that face us all, as we work together to secure a successful future for agriculture in the UK, such as maintaining soil quality. This is a major priority that Rothamsted has been working on. Soil health is a key element in ensuring more productive systems in agriculture. Rothamsted looks forward to continuing work with Government to ensure that sound science enables us to put in place useful monitoring schemes - a huge challenge in itself.”

“We also welcome Mr Gove’s positive approach in encouraging the public to be open-minded to new technologies, such as gene editing. These technologies will be key in the revolution that’s needed to speed up improvements in crops, to ensure not only high yield but reliable nutritional value in our food and environmental sustainability.”

Director for Science Innovation, Engagement and Partnerships, Angela Karp:
“Sound science is key to the future of agriculture. But it’s not science alone that’s required here. Translation is crucial. We must find ways to ensure better, faster translation for the discovery science that is rightly recognised as world class in Britain. This way, our science will make an impact in practice sooner, for all our benefit.”

“We also welcome Mr Gove’s pledge to put agriculture at the heart of the Government’s broader thinking on the food and drinks sector. His speech demonstrated joined-up thinking across the key issues, and acknowledged that policy-making can sometimes take too long and become overly complex. I welcome his willingness to make improvements here.”

About Rothamsted Research
Rothamsted Research is the longest-running agricultural research institute in the world. We work from gene to field with a proud history of ground-breaking discoveries, from crop treatment to crop protection, from statistical interpretation to soils management. Our founders, in 1843, were the pioneers of modern agriculture, and we are known for our imaginative science and our collaborative influence on fresh thinking and farming practices.
Through independent science and innovation, we make significant contributions to improving agri-food systems in the UK and internationally. In terms of the institute’s economic contribution, the cumulative impact of our work in the UK was calculated to exceed £3000 million a year in 20151. Our strength lies in our systems approach, which combines science and strategic research, interdisciplinary teams and partnerships.
Rothamsted is also home to three unique resources. These National Capabilities are open to researchers from all over the world: The Long-Term Experiments, Rothamsted Insect Survey and the North Wyke Farm Platform.
We are strategically funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), with additional support from other national and international funding streams, and from industry. We are also supported by the Lawes Agricultural Trust (LAT).
For more information, visit; Twitter @Rothamsted
1Rothamsted Research and the Value of Excellence: A synthesis of the available evidence, by Séan Rickard (Oct 2015)

The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council is part of UK Research and Innovation, a non-departmental public body funded by a grant-in-aid from the UK government.
BBSRC invests in world-class bioscience research and training on behalf of the UK public. Our aim is to further scientific knowledge, to promote economic growth, wealth and job creation and to improve quality of life in the UK and beyond.
Funded by government, BBSRC invested £469 million in world-class bioscience in 2016-17. We support research and training in universities and strategically funded institutes. BBSRC research and the people we fund are helping society to meet major challenges, including food security, green energy and healthier, longer lives. Our investments underpin important UK economic sectors, such as farming, food, industrial biotechnology and pharmaceuticals.
More information about BBSRC, our science and our impact.
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About LAT
The Lawes Agricultural Trust, established in 1889 by Sir John Bennet Lawes, supports Rothamsted Research’s national and international agricultural science through the provision of land, facilities and funding. LAT, a charitable trust, owns the estates at Harpenden and Broom's Barn, including many of the buildings used by Rothamsted Research. LAT provides an annual research grant to the Director, accommodation for nearly 200 people, and support for fellowships for young scientists from developing countries. LAT also makes capital grants to help modernise facilities at Rothamsted, or invests in new buildings.